halitza

Encyclopedia

halitza

(Hebrew: "drawing off"), Jewish ritual whereby a widow is freed from the biblical obligation of marrying her brother-in-law (levirate marriage) in cases where her husband died without issue. To enable a widow to marry a "stranger," the ritual of halitza had to be performed in the prescribed manner. The widow was to approach her brother-in-law "in the presence of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, 'So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother's house' " (Deuteronomy 25:9). As the words and actions indicate, the man was meant to be disgraced. Removal of the shoe apparently expressed the man's intention not to take possession of his "property," for normally one took possession of real property by walking on the land

Learn more about halitza with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: halitus
Next Definition: haliç
Words Near: halitza
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for halitza
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing halitza
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;